An ode to campus

I am writing this from a hostel room. Outside, the grey of dusk is already blanketing the honking columns of cars and matatus breaking every traffic law in an eager attempt to get their occupants home in time. Birds are singing their evening songs, and students are trickling into the compound from class.

Then splash! The idiotic comrade occupying the room above mine has just dumped a dirty bucket of water out of his window and onto my window-sill. Debris from yesterday’s meal splatter all over my laptop’s keyboard and phone. The eye of a skeletonised omena stares at me from the selfie camera of my phone, surrounded by a dazzling array of white ugali fragments.

A scandalous expletive loudly flees my mouth as I dash out of my room and head out upstairs, cursing heaven and earth, and calling fire and brimstone upon the porcine buffoon. I storm through his door and I’m immediately aware that there is no bucket in sight. The room is too calm. Apparently, the water came from higher up.

The surprise abruptly checks my anger, and I move out with the bad taste of my unconsummated wrath burning my throat. My ego is too deflated to sustain another trip up the flight of stairs to the next floor, so I pathetically slink back down the stairs to my room, to continue with my writing, silently lamenting the situation I have to bear with in this place called campus.

This is campus, where you have to live at the mercy of uncultured idiots in the name of comradeship. This is the place where you agree that weed smells nice whether it chokes the living daylights out of you or not. This is the place you keep quiet when they beat thieves to pulp.

This is campus, where life is seen through the lens of the proverbial gorilla baby, who’s unable to cease its infantile tantrum unless its thirst is quenched by its mother’s milk. Only the unwilling mother here is — frequently but not always — HELB and the milk is the loan it begrudgingly doles out only to later demand back ruthlessly.

This is campus, where a student leader can afford to speak like the village madman, and yet be acclaimed for his eloquence. This is the place where the lowest performing student can leverage on his hard-headedness and favour with the mentioned leader to rule over his comrades by becoming a goon.

This is campus, where students pick phone calls under the ‘No Use of Cell Phones’ sign in the library, and where they miss classes because they need only attend 66%. This is campus, where the eternal lesson that underwear is to be worn under something — even in the hostel corridor at midnight — will never be learnt.

Feature image: Photo by Eriksson Luo on Unsplash.

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